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Kate originally joined the firm in 1988 and returned to the firm in 1998 after practising labour law in British Columbia from 1993‑1998. Kate's practice covers a wide range of areas including labour arbitration, judicial reviews and appeals, court injunctions, advice regarding strikes and lockouts, labour board proceedings, professional regulation and discipline, education law and health law, inquests, civil litigation and human rights matters.

Kate has successfully argued two leading Supreme Court of Canada cases. She was counsel in the ground breaking discrimination case known as Meiorin or the "female firefighter case" where the SCC accepted her argument and used it to establish the new test for discrimination (British Columbia v. British Columbia Government and Service Employees' union (BCGSEU) (Meiorin) [1999] 3 S.C.R.3). She was also successful on behalf of unions in the BMWE v. Canadian Pacific case, in establishing the right of a union to obtain a court injunctions against an employer for violating the collective agreement where there was no effective means to obtain interim remedies from an arbitrator. Since then she has been successful at convincing a number of courts to grant injunctions on behalf of unions. Kate also has considerable experience in representing unions in strike or lockout injunctions and other court and labour board proceedings during labour disputes.

Kate is well known for her work in human rights. She is counsel on the leading case dealing with systemic human rights remedies (McKinnon v. the Ministry of Corrections), which has been upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Over the last two decades Kate has represented many professionals, including nurses, midwives and other health professionals governed by the Regulated Health Professions Act and teachers in discipline matters, arbitrations, interest arbitrations, inquests, injunctions, human rights proceedings, in civil litigation and judicial reviews and appeals at all levels.

Kate is a frequent speaker on a variety of labour issues including discrimination in the workplace, harassment, duty of accommodation and professional discipline, health and education matters. She is the author of a number of articles including co‑authoring a paper on A New Approach to Workplace Discrimination/une nouvelle approache à la discrimination on the Meiorin decision and a number of papers on the new Human Rights Code and accommodation issues. She was the author of Midwifery Legal Issues and A History of Midwifery for the 1987 Task Force on the Implementation of Midwifery in Ontario.

Prior to joining the firm in 1988, Kate practised with the labour law firm, Symes Kiteley & McIntyre from 1985 to 1987.


  • Call to the Ontario Bar, 1987
  • Call to the British Columbia Bar, 1993
  • Osgoode Hall Law School, LL.B., 1985


  • Leading Practitioner in Workplace, Human Rights Law - Canadian Lexpert Legal Directory, 2015

Related Events

Event/Nov 21, 2018

Kate Hughes Gives Keynote Address at OECTA'S Inaugural Women in Leadership Conference

Kate Hughes gives the keynote address at "Fempower", OECTA's inaugural women in leadership conference. Fempower is a conference for women, by women, w...
Event/Nov 12, 2018

Kate Hughes Gives Keynote Address at ETFO's Women's Conference

Kate Hughes Gives the keynote address at "Protect Yourself", the upcoming ETFO Women's Conference. Kate will be discussing her experience of litigatin...
Event/Dec 5, 2017

Kate Hughes Speaks at Lancaster House Bargaining in the Broader Public Sector Conference

Kate will be speaking in a session covering the year's most important caselaw developments, focusing on good faith bargaining, disclosure, political s...
Event/Nov 19, 2014

Kate Hughes Speaks on Expert Strategies for Trial Preparation

Kate Hughes is speaking at the Ontario Bar Association's Professional Development Program on Expert Strategies for Trial Preparation.  Kate will ...

Related Publications

Article/1 November 2013

Ignored and Misunderstood: Privacy Rights and Medical Information in the Canadian Workplace

Introduction In 1881, an English Appellate court said: "[I]t is well established that persons do not by virtue of their status as employees lose their... Read More
Article/2 November 2008

Enough is Enough: Recognizing & Responding to Violence in the Health Care Sector

Violence in the health care sector is pervasive and growing at a disturbing rate. For far too many health care workers (the majority being women and m... Read More

Related Blogs

/29 April 2019

Employees, Dependent Contractors and Independent Contractors: What’s the Difference?

What misclassification can mean to you

Workers who are misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees or dependent contractors could be deprived of important benefits. It's i...


Case/12 November 2018

Ministry of Correctional Services v. McKinnon

Ministry of Correctional Services v. McKinnon, 2010 ONSC 3896 (Div. Ct.) This is an application for judicial review brought by the Ministry of Correct...
Case/4 November 2011

Cambridge Memorial Hospital Ltd v Ontario Nurses Association

Cambridge Memorial Hospital Ltd v Ontario Nurses Association, 2011 CanLII 76525 (ON LA). The grievor has been receiving long term disability benefits ...
Case/20 October 2004

Counsel to ONA in SARS Commission Inquiry

Elizabeth McIntyre acts as counsel to the SARS Commission conducted by Justice Campbell.  A copy of the SARS Commission's final report can be rea...

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